Yes, yes, I’m going to make another post on the theme of current coronavirus-related events. You’d think that after my post about social distancing with ADHD and my post about quarantine being a time for reflection I’d have this topic out of my system.
But a lot of these posts are inspired by whatever happens to be going on in my life, and it’s fair to say that having real life more or less shut down is a major, ongoing event in all of our lives.
Having said that, what got me thinking about this topic was more a hypothetical thought about something that could have happened to me, and is definitely happening to a lot of people other than me: what would it be like to go into the current situation with undiagnosed ADHD?
As I’ve written about before, a lot of people finally discover they have ADHD by hitting rock bottom. Sometimes it’s not until things really fall apart that you fully recognize problems that existed all along, or that you seek help from a mental health professional who can diagnose you.
I have to imagine that in the current situation, there’s a lot of room for people with undiagnosed ADHD to hit rock bottom. People’s routines and familiar ways of life have been completely upended by recent events – and therefore many of their coping mechanisms have been too. Switching to online learning, suddenly doing all work from home, and being cut off from support networks are all stressors that could push people with undiagnosed ADHD from kind of hanging on to totally swamped in the chaos created by their symptoms.
Of course, most people are struggling to adjust to the current situation. How do you know if undiagnosed ADHD is a factor?
The short answer is that you have to talk to a mental health professional. That said, it might also be interesting to look for connections between things that are causing you problems during this time and things that were already causing you problems when life was “normal.”
I’ve generally found that the current situation has been revealing of the underlying nature of things in my life, such as what kind of relationships I have with various friends and family. A crisis can shed light on the fundamental nature of people’s habits, priorities, and ways of functioning – including our own!
Concretely, that means if behaviors like inattention and impulsivity were causing you issues across multiple aspects of your life and coronavirus simply put a spotlight on that, you should take note. If your life was going smoothly before and these behaviors coincide mostly with recent events, that’s still something to address (including with the help of a mental health professional), but by itself it doesn’t necessarily mean you have ADHD.
I do know that, as a result of the new stressors coronavirus has introduced, there are going to be a lot of people who reach a point of having to confront ADHD symptoms that have been interfering in their lives for quite some time. And to those people, welcome to the world of finally actually knowing you have ADHD, which opens up exciting new possibilities!
Image: Flickr/Gilbert Mercier